How A Biscuit Joiner Works

In every woodworking project, there will come the point where simply applying glue isn’t enough. 

            The good news is that there is an underrated alternative: biscuit joining may be the solution to your woodworking dilemmas. 

What is a Biscuit Joiner?

To put it simply, a biscuit joiner is a tool for mating two pieces of wood using a small, compressed piece of wood (the “biscuit”) as a joiner. 

          The centerpiece of the tool is a saw blade which, with its particular circular shape, is primarily designed to cut small crescents into the edges of the mating pieces of wood. These crescent-shaped holes, known as the mouths, are the first piece of the puzzle. 

          The “biscuit” is then inserted into the mouths with copious amounts of glue, and the two pieces of wood are held together with a robust and sturdy clamp, another essential part of the biscuit joiner. Thus, the two mating pieces are joined together in a stronger bond than simply by applying glue to the two sides. 

Why You Should Use a Biscuit Joiner 

           There’s no easier way to achieve perfect alignment between your two pieces of wood than with a biscuit joiner. The biscuit joiner is a user-friendly and particularly forgiving tool that will change the way you approach joinery forever. 

       There exist endless forms of joinery, depending on the project that you’re planning. We at prefer the use of a biscuit joiner for light-to-medium-weight projects that call for a quick and easy joining solution that not only won’t have you tearing your hair out at the simplest mistake, but also guarantees a strong, solid result. 

What Exactly Are Biscuits? 

       Biscuits—sometimes referred to as plates— are oval pieces of compressed wood, often comprised of beech wood or a particle mix. These come in precut standard sizes, the most common of which are #0, #10, and #20. 

            For regular use of biscuits, we recommended making a quick and easy gauge to keep track of widths and their corresponding slots. Just take a spare piece of wood, use the saw of your biscuit joiner to create three or four slots corresponding to each different biscuit size (make sure to drill shallowly so as not to lose track of your biscuit), and draw a centerline. You can then use this as a quick reference to save time you would have used to stop and re-measure.

Work Comfortably; Choose Your Handle Wisely

       Choosing your tools so that you’re comfortable as you work is an important part not only in guaranteeing your physical safety but also that you’ll have fun as you work on your woodworking projects. Picking a handle type is a necessary step in picking the right biscuit joiner for you.

         Some prefer a barrel grip, which connects a straight handle to the circular saw. This provides a solid grip and better maneuverability of the saw. Others prefer the D-handled biscuit joiner, which is exactly what it says on the tin—it’s a handle that is shaped like a D. It’s all about personal preference, so get your hands on a few different handles and see what works for you. 

Fence Accessory: Yes or No? You Decide

         You have the option of picking a biscuit joiner with or without the fence, which also depends on your personal preferences. Many woodworkers find that an adjustable fence is a useful aid in tracking their cuts, while others argue that it simply gets in the way. If you decide to go with the fence, it is important to make sure that it is firmly seated on the piece you’re working on.

         You may want to practice on scrap pieces of wood a few times if you are a beginner, to get the feel of the fence and make sure that you have the tool clamped firmly to your work-piece. Properly position the fence to avoid measuring mistakes further down the line. An improperly positioned fence may also lead to slippage, which can be dangerous. 

How to Use a Biscuit Joiner

       Take the pieces of wood you wish to join together and align them perfectly. This is an important step, so make sure to take your time. 

       With a pencil, mark exactly where you wish to insert the biscuits along the workpiece. Don’t be afraid to use too many, as the more you use, the stronger the joining will be. Make sure to mark both sides of the project visibly so that there is no confusion when you separate them. 

      Adjust your saw using the settings on the tool to determine the depth of the slot you wish to make. Do this before setting your tool in place to prevent misalignment. 

        Align the fence with the marks made on the wood. Remember that most amateur woodworkers make their biggest mistake here by rushing the process; take your time and check that the joiner and its fence are snugly clamped to the wood. 

        Turn on the joiner and, pushing forward gently, allow the saw to cut into the wood. Don’t worry about cutting align perfectly with the size of the biscuit; if anything, you can make the slot a little bigger than your pencil mark, so that you can more easily adjust the biscuit later. 

      That’s it! The biscuit joiner’s job is done. Set it aside and get out the glue, which should be applied both to the biscuits and the slots you just made on one piece of the project. Then, grabbing the other piece, align it perfectly with the piece already stuffed with biscuits, and watch them fit together like two puzzle pieces. 

         Use wood clamps to firmly clamp your project in place as the glue dries—this step should take anywhere from half an hour to an hour, depending on the type of glue used and the conditions of your workshop. You can wipe down any stray glue from the surface of the wood, or sandpaper it away later after it dries. 

Final Tips

      Can’t get the joiner to stop slipping around? Is your hand not steady enough to keep it still enough for a precise cut? Try ditching the freehand method and set it on a flat surface while you work. 

     Keep your biscuits dry— even the humidity in the air can cause them to swell if they’re out in the open. An airtight plastic case or even a ziplock bag can save you from having to replace your biscuits during your next project.

    Once you get past the first-time jitters, you’ll find that using biscuit joiner is simple and stress-free. Get on board and find out what you’ve been missing!
How A Biscuit Joiner Works How A Biscuit Joiner Works Reviewed by Pravesh Kumar Maurya on 03:28 Rating: 5

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